… hair! Dog hair to be exact. No, not the stuff that finds its way onto every piece of furniture or item of clothing you own … the stuff that forms hair bunnies and herds itself around the corners of the house. We’re talking about face hair. If you own or have owned any of the long-coated breeds, you know the ongoing challenge of keeping the hair out of the dog’s eyes as well as keeping the eyes from being poked with the bloom of ever-growing hair on the muzzle.
From time to time, I take my crew in for a professional grooming. On each dog’s kennel card, there is a notation that the hair on the muzzle is *not* to be scooped out with a clipper and nothing below the corner of the eyes and down the muzzle is to be trimmed. When grooming the dogs myself, I follow the same protocol. “Why?” you might ask, knowing that the hair on the face is going to look like a chrysanthemum in full bloom as it grows out. Because clippering or scissoring this hair sets you and the dog up for a never-ending trim/grow/poke in the eyes/watery eyes/can’t see/trim cycle
Here’s what I do on literally all my dogs, pet and show … I let the hair grow out until it lies flat to the muzzle. You only have to grow it out once and then keep the length trimmed up at the chin area. This also preserves the soft facial expression of the dog. In the photo to the left, Teller is several weeks out from a groom so the hair above the eyes is in need of a trim but you can see how the hair lies flat on the muzzle. He can still see despite needing a trim!
In the photo to the right, you can see how the hair is grown to the beard length and then trimmed appropriately. While growing the hair out on the muzzle, I will use an alcohol-free hair gel or KY jelly to keep the hair tacked down and out of the eyes. Since the hair grows fairly quickly, it won’t be long until it is laying flat and out of the eyes. I find that keeping the muzzle hair in this fashion also helps with the eye discharge, i.e., less of it and easier to clean out.
Remember, you only have to grow it out once. Unless you forget to tell your groomer …